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Dev Dyn. 2001 Aug;221(4):380-90.

Cell proliferation and movement during early fin regeneration in zebrafish.

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Departments of Medicine and of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Ottawa Health Research Institute at the Ottawa Hospital, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada.


Cell proliferation and cell movement during early regeneration of zebrafish caudal fins were examined by injecting BrdU and Di-I, respectively. In normal fins of adult fish, a small number of proliferating cells are observed in the epidermis only. Shortly following amputation, epithelial cells covered the wound to form the epidermal cap but did not proliferate. However, by 24 hr, epithelial cells proximal to the level of amputation were strongly labeled with BrdU. Label incorporation was also detected in a few mesenchymal cells. Proliferating cells in the basal epithelial layer were first observed at 48 hr at the level of the newly formed lepidotrichia. At 72 hr, proliferating mesenchymal cells were found distal to the plane of amputation whereas more proximal labeled cells included mainly those located between the lepidotrichia and the basal membrane. When BrdU-injected fins were allowed to regenerate for longer periods, labeled cells were observed in the apical epidermal cap, a location where cells are not thought to proliferate. This result is suggestive of cell migration. Epithelial cells, peripheral to the rays or in the tissue between adjacent rays, were labeled with Di-I and were shown to quickly migrate towards the site of amputation, the cells closer to the wound migrating faster. Amputation also triggered migration of cells of the connective tissue located between the hemirays. Although cell movement was induced up to seven segments proximal from the level of amputation, cells located within two segments from the wound provided the main contribution to the blastema. Thus, cell proliferation and migration contribute to the early regeneration of zebrafish fins.

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